Inside the Numbers: Rating the 1992 Recruiting Class
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
TSL Extra, Issue #23
This is the third in a series of articles rating Virginia Tech recruiting classes from 1990 to the present. In the last two issues, we have rated the 1990 and 1991 recruiting classes, and this issue, it's time for the 1992 recruiting class.
The 1992 class was short on the offensive skillplayers who get big press, but long on offensive linemen and defensive backs. Most of the players in this class aren't headliners like what we saw in the previous two classes -- Maurice DeShazo, Antonio Freeman, Jim Druckenmiller, and Dwayne Thomas, to name a few -- but what they accomplished on the field set a new standard for Virginia Tech football.
This class was the first class to play in two BCS bowls, which were called Alliance Bowls back then: the 1995 Sugar Bowl and the 1996 Orange Bowl. Most of the players in this class were redshirted in the fall of 1992, so those that stayed around and contributed were redshirt juniors and redshirt seniors in 1995 and 1996. Those that didn't redshirt, like Bryan Still, were true seniors for the 1995 team.
Team Accomplishments Kick In
As you recall, our system of rating recruiting classes gives the class points as a whole for team accomplishments. Those accomplishments include winning Big East games, winning Big East championships, and playing in and winning bowl games. Points are awarded for the four seasons in which the class would have been redshirt freshmen to redshirt seniors.
For this 1992 class, that means they get points for the 1993-1996 seasons. They're the first class to have the full benefit of round-robin play in the Big East Conference for all four years, so their opportunities to accumulate points for things like conference wins and BE championships are greater than they were for the 1990 and 1991 recruiting classes.
This class is also the first class to benefit from the nine-year VT bowl run for four years, and they're the first class to not have the miserable 2-8-1 season of 1992 as a black mark on their record.
As you can imagine, this 1992 recruiting class, with its four bowls, two Big East championships, and two BCS bowls, trounced the 1990 and 1991 classes in terms of team accomplishments. This makes up for their lack of impact skill players; Bryan Still was the only big-time offensive skill player present in this class.
So this class is short on individual accomplishments/points and long on team accomplishments and points. We'll get to the detailed numbers in a minute, but first, a reminder of the scoring system.
Here is a list of how many points are awarded for what accomplishments, both individual and team:
Individual accomplishments: letter earned (1 point); season starter (2 points); VT season stat leader (2); VT game (5), season (7) or career (10) record held; All-American (10); First-team AA (15); Consensus AA (20), Unanimous AA (25); national award (20); Heisman finalist (30); All-Big East 2nd (3) or 1st (5) Team; BE Player of the Year (10); BE season stats leader (5); BE game (6), season (8), or career (11) record held; BE academic honor roll (2); drafted by the NFL (3-10 points).
Class achievements: Wins (2 points per win); conference win (2); win over Virginia (5) or Miami (5); BE Champions (25); Top 25 (10) or Top 10 (15) finish; play in (15) or win (10) minor bowl; play in (25) or win (25) BCS bowl; play in championship game (50).
Note that the reasons for this ranking system, and its strengths and shortcomings, were talked about in detail in issue #21.
Example From the 1990 Recruiting Class
As we do every month, here's a walk-through with Tyronne Drakeford, a key member of the 1990 recruiting class. Here are his accomplishments:
Total points for Tyronne Drakeford: 49
Individual Points Scored by Members of the 1992 Recruiting Class
Here's the entire 1992 recruiting class, and how many points each player scored in the TSL Extra system:
Bill Conaty (C, 45 points): Lettered four years; started four years; named first-team All-America in 1996 by The Sporting News; All-Big East 2nd team center in 1995; All-Big East 1st team OL in 1996.
Torrian Gray (DB, 38 points): Lettered four years; started three years; led VT in interceptions in 1993 (tie with Antonio Banks) and 1994; All-Big East 2nd team in 1995 and 1996; All-Big East 1st team in 1994; 2nd-round draft choice (49th overall) of the Minnesota Vikings in 1997.
Antonio Banks (DB, 33 points): Lettered four years; started four years; led VT in interceptions in 1993 (tie with Torrian Gray) and 1996; All-Big East 2nd team in 1994 and 1996; 4th-round draft choice (117th overall) of the Minnesota Vikings in 1997.
Bryan Still (WR, 30 points): Lettered four years; started two years; led VT in receiving in 1995 and kickoff returns in 1994; led the Big East in kickoff returns in 1994; 2nd-round draft choice (41st overall) of the San Diego Chargers in 1996.
Jay Hagood (OL, 16 points): Lettered four years; started three years; All-Big East 2nd team in 1995 and 1996.
Team Points Scored
In terms of team accomplishments, the 1992 recruiting class wins points for what the team accomplished in the 1993-1996 seasons. These accomplishments are:
The 563 total points posted by this recruiting class and 26.81 per-player average are the best so far among the three recruiting classes reviewed (1990-92). The following paragraphs accumulate the data we've got so far
Comparison With Previous Classes Rated
So far, with three classes in the books, here's how they stack up against each other:
As a team, the 1992 class outscored the 1990 and 1991 classes, as talked about in the opening. So far, team points have increased with each class, but that should hold steady from here on out. Each of the next three recruiting classes (1993-1995) will have two BCS bowls to their credit (the 1993 and 1994 classes will get points for the 95 Sugar and 96 Orange; the 1995 class gets credit for the 1996 Orange and 1999 Sugar).
Due to the lack of skill players, the 1992 class had fewer individual points than the 1991 and 1992 classes. But it's interesting to note how well the 1992 class complimented the 1991 class, and that's why the Hokies went to two BCS bowls in 1995 and 1996. Take a look:
1991 class: QB Jim Druckenmiller, TB Dwayne Thomas, OL Chris Malone, LB George DelRicco, DT Jeff Holland, DT J.C. Price, DE Lawrence Lewis, and DE Hank Coleman.
1992 class: WR Bryan Still, WR Cornelius White, OL Billy Conaty, OL Jay Hagood, OL TJ Washington, DT Waverly Jackson, DB Antonio Banks, DB Torrian Gray.
You can see that in 1991 and 1992, the Hokies recruited two classes that meshed perfectly into championship teams in 1995 and 1996. They got their QB, TB, defensive line, and a great linebacker in 1991; and they got good wide receivers, an offensive line, and two great defensive backs in 1992.
If you look at it that way, VT's teams of 1995 and 1996 didn't "come out of nowhere" at all -- they were built methodically in a masterstroke of two-year recruiting.
Top Ten Players So Far
Three classes into our rankings, here is our top ten list.
The 1990 class still has a stranglehold on four of the top five spots.
See you next month, when we rate a 1993 recruiting class that was pretty much a big flop, except for one guy. But he was a whopper. His name was Cornell Brown.
To download the data in HTML (web page) format, go here:
To download an MS Excel 97 spreadsheet containing all of the data and formulas that I have used here, go here: